Evgeni Nabokov hasn’t played since November 16, but returned to the ice with his New York Islanders teammates for a practice session on Monday morning. Since Nabokov injured his groin on the 16th, the Isles have been forced to roll with two relatively green netminders in Anders Nilsson and Kevin Poulin.
Arthur Staple of Long Island Newsday originally reported that Nabokov was back out on the ice yesterday, but added that it’s unlikely that the goaltender would join the team on the upcoming five-game road trip.
That means that the Islanders will continue to roll with their current tandem of goalies that are both 23. They have appeared in 40 NHL games combined. Poulin was given a chance to seize the No. 1 role when Nabokov went down, but wasn’t able to provide steady goaltending on any level. Over his last five games started he hasn’t finished with a save percentage above the .900 mark.
Not surprisingly, New York lost all five of those games.
Nilsson was solid in his first start of the season against the Washington Capitals on November 30, making 27 saves on 30 shots. That was good enough to get the Islanders into overtime, but they didn’t manage to grab the extra point.
Whether Nabokov returning is a positive or not remains to be seen. He wasn’t playing particularly well at the time of his injury either. The 38-year-old is 5-5-3 on the year, and has a .892 save percentage.